Gazpacho has come a long way since it was enjoyed by harvesters on the scorching plains of southern Spain. Modern versions now include all manner of novel ingredients, from carrots and ginger to beets, watermelon and strawberries. This one, featuring cherries, is a contemporary classic that makes a beautiful starter for a warm-weather dinner party.
- 2 1/2 lb. (1.25 kg) ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) coarsely chopped white onion or green onions
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped green bell pepper
- 3 thick slices country-style white bread (about 6 oz./170 g), crusts removed and bread torn into pieces
- Fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 8 oz. (250 g) cherries, pitted, plus halved pitted cherries for garnish
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) sherry vinegar, or as needed for serving
- Diced fresh cheese for garnish
- Torn fresh basil leaves for garnish
1. Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Meanwhile, cut a shallow cross in the blossom end of each tomato and then remove the core. Carefully slip the tomatoes into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice water to cool. Remove from the water and peel immediately. Coarsely chop the tomatoes.
2. Put the tomatoes in a blender along with the onion, garlic, bell pepper, bread, salt to taste and 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) of the olive oil. Puree until smooth.
3. Add the cherries, the remaining 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) olive oil and the vinegar and blend until thoroughly combined. Add cold water as needed to reach the consistency of a thin soup, then give everything one final whizz. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a little more salt and/or vinegar if you like. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
4. To serve, ladle the gazpacho into soup plates or bowls and garnish with diced fresh cheese, halved cherries, torn basil leaves, and a few drops of olive oil. Serves 6.
Find more than 100 recipes for the simple, unassuming and satisfying food of the Spanish countryside in Rustic Spanish, by Paul Richardson.